Transposing Viola to Violin

• Dec 7, 2018 - 05:44

Hello everyone,
I am a student that is currently in a String Quartet group at school.
My group consists of three violins and a cello and we are playing Holberg Suite Op. 40 by Edvard Grieg.
I am a violinist that is planning on playing the viola part and I almost have the part transposed from Alto clef to Treble clef. I brought the C-string viola notes up one octave to notes that are playable on the violin. However, I notice that in some areas in the music the notes start from a C-string note and then get higher so in the middle of a phrase I no longer need to bring up the notes an octave. But should I bring the notes that are playable on the violin an octave up as well to not interrupt the flow of the music or leave them as they are because they are already playable? Please help me out. I have attached the file that I am currently working on below and although some of the notes appear to be double stops, the bottom note is actually a note that was transposed from Alto to Treble but not brought up an octave while the top note is the same bottom note raised an octave. I really need to know whether to bring up an entire phrase an octave just to keep the flow of the music or to only bring up the notes that are not playable on the violin (an example of my dilemma can be found right in measure 2)!!

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As a guide I'll tell you what I've seen in the past.

When a viola is playing an octave lower unison with a violin, the viola generally only plays the notes it can't play an octave higher and all other notes an octave lower. I've seen this on other instruments such as two bassoons playing at octaves as well.

Since the strings on the violin give you so much freedom to jump an octave, I would write all notes possible in the lower octave. I would only make an exception for temolos, trills and note patterns that could be written as one of these, then I would play all of those notes in the same octave. One other exception I would make is if the section has extremely fast notes, I would try to group notes into no less than 8th notes (at about quarter note = 90 bpm) and keep them together. If one note needs to be up an octave, then all of the notes in the group will be up an octave.

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